Despite concerns from nearby residents, the Mobile Planning Commission approved the plans and higher density rezoning to allow “high-end” townhomes on Old Shell Road near Ashland Place in Midtown. Bess Rich, the council’s representative on the Planning Commission, was the lone dissenting vote.

Developer Sarah Stashak said the complex would consist of seven units in three buildings, separated by green space. She called the development “high-end” with units consisting of 10-foot ceilings and modern, open floor plans. Stashak added that most of the units would have three bedrooms and three-and-a-half baths, while others would have two bedrooms and two-and-half baths.

“The units will be luxurious and beautiful,” she said.

Diana Allen, owner of two houses adjacent to the proposed development, said she was concerned about the density of it.

The rezoning request initially asked for a higher density, which could’ve allowed for more than 20 units. Commissioners voted to rezone the property to allow only a maximum of 10 units. Stashak told commissioners she was fine with that because her plans only called for seven units. The rezoning request now moves to the City Council for final approval.

Another positive for commissioners was the amount of green space the project would leave. By law, developments of this nature have to designate at least 12 percent of the available property as green space. Stashak’s plans called for 9,000 square feet of green space on the 43,000 square-foot parcel. Planner Richard Olsen told commissioners that only 5,000 square feet of green space would have been required.

She added that right now, the lots in question at 2165 and 2167 Old Shell Road are completely green space, which she thought was positive.

“As long as I’ve lived in the neighborhood, it’s been green space,” she said. “Everyone loves green space. Now, everyone hates it.”

Among other concerns, Allen thought the complex would make traffic and drainage worse.
“They say it’s not going to impact traffic,” she said. “How could it not?”

While only two nearby residents spoke in opposition to the project, Allen said others expressed their displeasure through letters submitted to the commission.

Ashley Dukes, president of Midtown Mobile Movement, spoke in favor of the project because it met the guidelines the group has advocated for in the past.

“It checks every box on our Old Shell Road plan,” she said. “Everything citizens said they wanted is in this plan.”

For example, Dukes said the project put the buildings close to the street and the parking is hidden behind them.